It is your doctor’s job to assess, diagnose and treat you, but how you behave as a patient can influence his or her ability to do so correctly. In order to ensure an accurate diagnosis and treatment there are certain behaviors and habits that are best to avoid.
- 1. Constantly referring to information you have seen on the internet about your condition. It’s great to be informed about your medical situation, but it is not necessary to interrupt your doctor with information that may not even be relevant. Remember not to believe everything you read on the internet! If you have a question about something you have read or researched, wait until your doctor has finished giving their opinion before sharing it, and work together to discuss your concerns.
- 2. Suppressing medical or pertinent lifestyle information. No one is perfect, and all of us have certain things we could improve on or really should stop doing all together. Remember that your doctor has most likely seen it all and they are not in the business of judgment. Claiming that you don’t smoke, when you really do, or “forgetting” to mention medication you are taking because you are embarrassed is only going to give your doctor an incorrect overview of your health and hinder their ability to help you.
- 3. Getting sidetracked. You have a very limited amount of time with your doctor. Stick to what you came to share and have examined and try not to give long-winded explanations, excuses or anecdotes that have nothing to do with your problem. The more distractions you give your doctor, the harder it is for them to focus. Let your doctor ask the questions and lead the appointment. If you still feel the need to say more afterwards, then go ahead.
- 4. Blaming the doctor. No one likes receiving a medical diagnosis, less-than-perfect test results, news that they need to make lifestyle changes or follow a certain treatment. It is important to remember that this is not your doctor’s fault and this that this medical professional is simply the bearer of bad news, not the cause for it. Don’t shoot the messenger! Remember that your doctor only has your best interests at heart. Getting angry or irritable with your doctor will only create tension and make it harder to work together on your path to recovery.
- 5. Interrupting. It’s natural to want to ask questions, and even more so when it comes to your health or that of a loved one. However, it’s important to hear your doctor out first, and listen to everything he or she has to say. Your doctor is an experienced professional who wants to help you.